Let me first mention here that this is not a sci-fi article. Though, all the brilliant brains of Science and Mathematics are trying to find out the true meaning of Singularity, we can define it in a general way as the state where infinite becomes one, you can't differentiate one from another. Virtually, if you have 0 (zero) balance in your mobile and you have to call 0 people in a row then how much part of your balance will you spend on each?
According to the Big Bang theory, our universe has emerged from nothing but an infinitely small point called Singularity. So much around has made up from nothing.
Now how this has anything to do with Start-Up? Everything.
I don't know about the Space, but we can see these Big Bangs all around us, in our society, economy and where not. Every Start-up have nothing in the beginning. They come from nowhere. We see blinking stars in the night sky. From the distance they are just tiny white dots but the moment we focus they become the most beautiful objects in universe. Start-ups share the same fate. They seem similar when we generalize them, but have vast differences in their working.
When a person decides to run his own company, what he needs is just an idea (An idea can really make your life :) ). But what after that? What are the ingredients that make it a perfect soup? What makes it a failure or an inspiration? An advertisement of Airtel's open network is in circulation these days.
It states in Hindi, "Start up business ke liye to 2 cheeje hi chahiye hoti hain. Ek to kismat aurrr network" ( all you need for a startup business is luck and mobile network). I don't know about network, but luck?? Seriously, Only luck!!!! Lets discuss the life of a Start-up.
There are two kinds of people in this universe. One who first learn and then decide to do something new. Second, who just start doing something and learn simultaneously. Second type of people is more general. It is also the natural way of evolution. We, as a baby, tried to put our first step in the process of learning how to walk. We didn't have any crash course and start walking. It was always a hit and trial. On the other hand, Learning and then Executing has a low risk factor. You can take your next decision safely because you know the consequences. But business is all about taking risks. Apart from this, young generation can afford this risk because they have plenty of time to overcome the aftereffects of their wrong decisions. As Helen Keller
said in The Open Door
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all."
We are humans so we always have new ideas in the 3 pounds of our body, The Brain. Second type of people, mentioned above, does not have much weight in their pockets, The Money. Here comes our singularity. You don't have money but have an idea. This is the most common fate every start-up has to face. But believe me, this is the most favorable condition to flourish the Start-up Flower.
Shortage of penny gives you the training of how to take safer risks.
Nothing is easier in this world, not even learning your mother tongue. In the same way, it is not easy to understand how to start a company when you have the least money you could ever have. The fact is, you need not to start a company in the beginning. Keep your company in your mind. The only thing that should come out must be the pilot project or a test drive of your idea. You should know the version 1 of your idea. This will not put your resources at stake. So, in a way, you learn to figure out the least inputs required for your idea to execute.
Outputs from the test drive will lead you to the version 2
of your idea. It may be possible that version 1 will collapse completely. Well, it will be really good if it collapses. As great Thomas A. Edison
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”
Sometimes an idea never gets its version 2. Like, if I want to teleport myself to Mars from my office, I can never be, at-least for the next 100 years. So, is the problem with me or something else? Both could be the answer. If the required technology or resource is not available then the problem is definitely not with me. But even after 100 years if I could not teleport myself then it may be. What I want to explain is that if your idea is beyond the requirements of the time then you have no choice but to leave it. But if ground is ready and market is demanding but still your version 2 is nowhere then it is your approach which must be dropped. More frequent reason is that your product is the need of the market but do not match its expectations and quality requirements.
Most of the people think that its very hard to start a company, you need lots of patience, energy, focus, hard work and God knows what not. Rubbish. In my opinion, it is the easiest thing you can ever imagine. When you have nothing, you loose nothing. It is the most secure bet. In cricket, you will neither be out on a no ball nor you will loose your runs, no matter how much potential a bowler has. Just be on your crease and hit the ball as fast as you can.
The problem comes after your initiation. Once you reach version 2, you immediately start exposing your idea. May be you will get good response from market. You will start feeling your pocket a bit heavy. It will give you some confidence and a ground for your version 3. Exploring opportunities, expanding resources, spending money on quality and stability are the basic steps you will take to launch your next version. But this is the point where real problems come. Most of the start-ups fail to survive in their phase 3. Lets discuss some common reasons of failure,
- Unstable Core, The Founders
A company can handle any kind of stroke and continue to run but collisions between founders will ruin the dream that you and your team has seen together. Founders are lifeline for a company. They are the foundation stones that is why called Founders. The ethics and quality parameters set by them can never be achieved without them. It is important to choose your co-founders rationally. Reasons for clashes could be anything like, greed, compromise or non-committed but result remains the same, failure.
An individual can take initiation but running a company is not a one-man army. You need collaborations, parallel hands and active minds to distribute and handle the responsibilities. There are a lot of potential people in the market to hire as employees but how many of them want to be a part of your start up? Experience is not easy to purchase
. If an industry expert is not ready to join you then just create your own. If you think hiring professionals is expensive, try hiring amateurs. Give them full opportunity to learn. Do not consider them your competitor but a team. The key element that you must be looking for should be honesty and sincerity. As James C. Collins
“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”
Success always comes with some bad habits. It takes a bit longer time to pass your phase 3. But your early experiences and eagerness to succeed can make you impatient. This may lead you to some suicidal steps for your start-up. A little overconfidence will help your company to take its last breath easily. So, if you don't want to be a part of trash then be patient, always remember that you have just cleared step 1, there is long way to go. Your hard work and focus are your best companion. Always trust them.
- Surprised with the hurdles
Its good to discuss the possibilities of your decisions with your team but its quite possible that your preparation is just not enough. You may be surprised with some unexpected hurdles. But the long you will keep yourself in this state the more you will loss. They are the part of your risk and you should be ready to embrace them.
All of the above problems may lead to financial crisis. Apart from problems, even just to run your idea you will require money. Failure in estimating your expenses may lead to the failure of your idea. If your idea will take time to generate enough revenue in the beginning, then look for the alternatives. Funding, loans and investments from outside are some common sources of money. But we can also look for other options, like, design some small modules of your idea and start selling them. May be these module will not directly fit to your grand picture but they will surely help you to paint it.
Though, it may be a little boring article :) but as per my experience if you are desperate and honest with your vision then you will never feel tired. Your office table will become your bed, your nights will become your days and your employees will be your family. Your past experiences will always leave a smile on your face and a reason to go further. Doesn't matter if you succeed or fail, you will be an inspiration for others in either way.
So, as we saw, from the singularity of nothing, there are lots more possibilities for a start up to be meaningful. I will end this article with the inspiring quote of Albert Einstein
“A ship is always safe at the shore - but that is NOT what it is built for.”